I’ve dated a few men in my life who have appeared to be supportive of my writing career—for as long as it took them to get something from me. That support never lasted long. I don’t think a lot of people take me seriously as a writer, even when they read my stuff. They pretend to, for sure, but when the rubber hits the road, the real story is that they don’t see me as anything more than what they’ve created as an image of me.
I am reflecting on this because of some things someone very important to me has said a few times over the last couple of years.
When I finished my first book, Fires at Christmas, he was my man. He was also on the way out the door, as far as that role. It was January 15, 2017, and I had struggled over that book for about ten years. I know now that I learned many lessons from writing it, and a lot of it is junk, and a lot of it can be salvaged, but no matter what, it was my first completion. I was thrilled. And he was blasé. He was completely devoid of any real support or energy. It broke my heart. About a week later, he walked out the door.
I was just rereading some of the work I had been creating around that time, and it is clear to me that I was aware he was leaving, but the leaving still shattered me. At any rate, his apathy was painful. So I set some goals on my own, and some of them I achieved, even though I was depressingly depressed. I was pretty destroyed, in fact. I worked hard to overcome that. I recently saw him and I was talking about my next book, Chattering Swallow. I mentioned the name of one of my characters—Quillon, and his nickname is Q. That man that I had put so much energy into told me my choice for names was “gay.”
Now first, I’d rather he used a different way to denigrate my decision for a name, but that’s beside the point. My choices for names have purpose and meaning. I knew a Quillon once, who was the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful person I had ever met. And I lost him many years ago. And while I never called him Q, my teammates, who I have a strong affinity for, call me Q. So that’s why I chose that name for an important character in this book. What he probably was reacting to, is that the man in the novel is modeled after him, and I destroy him in my book. The name was denigrated, but that’s because the human model was relegated to pain and misery in my world building.
Another man, in another time of my life, also chose to tell me the name of one of my very important, and very powerful characters was “gay.” Now, I’m not really sure why this is their insult of choice. I know a lot of really great and powerful gay people, and I could care less what their sexuality is. But I suppose if one’s masculinity is threatened, then that might have something to do with it. At any rate, my lesson.
I have decided that the names I choose are just that: names I choose. Nobody else gets to pass judgment. My son’s best friend’s girlfriend is pregnant and they did their gender reveal yesterday. I asked what they are going to name her, and he told me Kalani. And I passed judgement. But I don’t want to. That’s not my role. This little Kalani will have a couple of wonderful people in her life, and Kalani she will be. I’ll be a great auntie and love her anyway.
So name haters can eff off. We choose names because we like them, or because they have meaning. And that should be good enough.
Wanted: a good set of sentences to grab you from the depths of the internet. I keep trying to catch your eye.